Long bus rides often can be tedious and mind numbing for any high school baseball player.
But the Hartsville Red Foxes have found a way to pass the time in recent years.
“Man those kids, they love to hear those stories about playing in the minors,” Hartsville coach Jacob Shumate said. “They always want you to talk about who you played with, who you saw and what it was like playing baseball for a living.”
Shumate was a 1994 first round selection by the Atlanta Braves jerseys and spent nearly eight years working his way through the minors before a shoulder injury sidelined him for good.
Now, 14 years later, another Hartsville standout is hoping to follow a similar path and have stories of his own to tell one day.
Hartsville’s standout right hander cheap cheap jerseys Jordan Lyles jersey was selected 38th overall by the Houston Astros jerseys on Thursday, the highest a Red Fox has been taken since Shumate.
Needless to say, the pick surprised plenty of people including Lyles.
“I had no idea I was going that high,” Lyles said. “I wasn’t by my phone and didn’t get a call or anything. I was actually going to my room to get some sleep before graduation, walked by the TV and saw my name.
“I had to look twice to make sure it was me.”
No one event sparked Lyles’ climb up the prospect list, but rather a two year body of work.
And, according to Shumate, it probably all started at the 2007 Southeastern Baseball Classic.
Pitching against Paul VI, a nationally ranked team from Fairfax, Va., Lyles allowed only one baserunner, a solo home run, in a 1 0 defeat.
“Jordan had been working on developing a cutter a cut fastball and that was the game he really seemed to get command of it,” Shumate said. “Since then, it’s pretty much been lights out when he’s on the mound.”
The Red Foxes’ state championship in ’07 also brought more notoriety Lyles’ way after he pitched the deciding game, a three hit shutout as the Red Foxes blanked North Augusta 6 0. By the time his senior season rolled around, scouts could be seen at nearly all of Lyles’ games.
A mid March matchup against Region 6 4A foe Sumter pitted Lyles against the Gamecocks’ Matt Price, another highly touted pitching prospect.
“Naturally, there was a lot of interest in the game,” Lyles’ agent Lee Long said. “There were about eight or nine (scouts) from various teams in the audience, and that was the night Jordan started to show some progression in his velocity.”
Lyles’ fastball normally was in the 87 89 mph range, but on a cold night in Sumter, he hit 91 on the radar gun more than hit 88, Long said.
“I just felt really good that night, and my arm was a lot looser than it normally was,” Lyles said. “My fastball just had a little more zip to it.”
From Hartsville to Houston
The Sumter game probably was what put him on the Astros jerseys’ radar, Lyles said.
“They started talking to (Lee) a little more and came to see me pitch a lot after that,” Lyles said.
And so did a lot of other scouts.
“At Jordan’s next start in Hartsville, there were probably 31 scouts compared to eight the game before,” Long said.
A handful of teams showed interest, but the Astros jerseys, Dodgers jerseys, Braves jerseys, Phillies jerseys and the Royals jerseys showed the most interest, Long said.
Beginning Monday, May 19, Lyles began a three week trek that took him to Georgia three times and finally to Houston.
On June 1, less than four days before the draft, Lyles pitched in front of a number of Houston’s top scouts.
“We were actually afraid we were going to miss our flight back,” Long, who traveled with Lyles, said. “They were obviously looking at a lot of different guys.”